Elizabeth Nissen OAM

Elizabeth Eleanor Nissen served the community for over 60 years primarily as a voluntary aid.

Honour Roll

She distinguished herself by exceptional and great devotion to victims of countless disasters. South Eastern Australia is particularly vulnerable to bushfires and rural communities are severely affected with major stock losses, property damage and, worst of all, there is often loss of human life with many others injured or dispossessed. Elizabeth contributed much to the relief of these human tragedies.

Our disaster-prone State can also be afflicted by windstorms and a whole variety of incidents including house fires and industrial accidents. Elizabeth never spared herself in meeting these all too frequent challenges.

Her earlier years were spent mainly in direct involvement in disaster relief in a practical way, using her very considerable skills as a voluntary aid. Additionally, she was committed to training programs and community education. As the years passed, Elizabeth became more senior and experienced and her role changed. Increasingly she played a more prominent part in disaster management. Rather than attend at the scene, she inspired the acceptance and development of Red Cross training programs and worked towards their successful implementation.

For over 50 years she was associated with First Aid and Home Nursing training and was a highly qualified instructor. Elizabeth instructed and examined hundreds of adults and schoolchildren and was a major contributor towards the compilation of the Red Cross First Aid Manual. Her record was a long history of commitment and service at all levels of the Red Cross and other community organisations as a voluntary aid, first aider, trainer, committee member, officer-bearer and many other roles.

She was honoured by receiving municipal awards for service to community immunisation campaigns, the Australian Assistance Plan, Citizens Advice Bureau, Aged Care and others. Her Red Cross Awards are numerous, including the Service Award (1958), Distinguished Service Award (1968), Meritorious Service Award (1969), Honorary Life Membership (1982) and the Florence Nightingale Award (1987).

Elizabeth served as Vice Chairperson of the Victorian Division of Australian Red Cross Victoria, was a member of the National Health and Safety Education Committee, and chaired or was a member of numerous other Red Cross Committees over the many years she served the organisation.